Faith McDonnell has been with IRD since 1993. She is the Director of Religious Liberty Programs and of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan. She writes and speaks on the subject of the persecuted church.
It’s the dry season in Sudan and what fresh hell does this bring to the marginalized and persecuted people? It brings a new military campaign by the Sudanese Army and the allied militias sponsored and funded by Khartoum against refugees who had fled from Blue Nile State and sought protection in displacement camps.
A press release from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) says that the attack, which began on February 14, “in a heavily populated area with internally displaced civilians at Muffa Village and the surrounding
area, 21 kilometers southwest of Kurmuk” has been conducted with “heavy aerial bombardment” and put over 8,000 civilians “on the run towards the
Ethiopian and South Sudan borders.”
The report from the SPLM-N notes that previous aerial and ground bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces and their allied militias had resulted in the displacement of over 70% of the people of Blue Nile State. As of now, ”nearly 200,000 from the civilian populations are refugees in Ethiopia and South Sudan.”The attack now taking place sends many disturbing messages.
The SPLM-N explains them in this way:
- This is a continuation of the same scorched earth policy that the Sudanese government has implemented in the past and in some areas, continues to implement against civilians in South Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State, and Darfur.
- It completely disregards the African Union (AU) and the UN Security Council Resolution 2046 (toothless wonder and gem of moral equivalence that it is) and defies the AU High-level Implementation Panel’s call for peace talks.
- It follows Sudan President and indicted war criminal Omar Hassan al Bashir’s refusal to participate in peace talks and his declaration that he “will settle militarily the situation in Darfur and the two areas.” (The two areas: Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State.)
Even more disturbing, however, has been the message sent by the U.S. government and the world community to Sudan’s marginalized people:
The SPLM-N statement concludes, “Civilians are being attacked from the air and on the ground and they are denied access to humanitarian assistance for more than 20 months in front of the eyes and ears of the regional and international communities. If we do not call that a war crime, what do we call it in international humanitarian law?” The SPLM-N is right. This is a war crime. And the cowardice, political correctness, and denial of the world community, and particularly of the United States is a moral crime.
Please understand that this is not a matter of there not being any money for additional funding in an already over-spent budget. This aid has been in the budget. It is a matter of moral and political will. If you care about what happens to the people of Sudan, there are things that you can do to help. Watch this blog and the IRD website for more information, and visit Act for Sudan if you are interested in attending the Sudan Emergency Action Summit, March 10-11, at George Mason University, Arlington Campus.
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